Clearing out my “saved mail” folder this morning, I came across an email from my daughter in 2008.
I should preface by saying that I am of (among other things) Scottish descent from my father’s father. I have loved all that is Scottish since I was a small child, and realised my dream of stepping foot on the land of my ancestors in the summer of 2000 when we spent 2 1/2 weeks in Perthshire visiting friends who started off as pen-pals; we are friends to this day.
Anyway, I wanted to preserve these photos of Dunnottar Castle and the explanation that accompanies them, and share them with whoever may read my silly blog simply because Scotland is so wonderful. Below is exactly what Shooshie sent me in the email with the photos linked to each piece. All photos and the explanations are by someone called Geejwoob who posted them to their Photobucket. I don’t know him/her, and couldn’t find a way to contact, so Geej, if you see this, THANK YOU for sharing this in the first place, and I hope you don’t mind me posting it here.
Mum, Someone posted this on one of the forums I read… copying and pasting the whole thing here:
These pictures were taken by me about a month ago when I visited Dunnottar Castle, about 70 miles north of where I live. Dunnottar is described as Scotland’s “most impregnable” medieval fortress: while that doesn’t really work as a construction, I think anybody has to agree that this is one amazing castle, especially when you consider that it is believed that the the first thing to be built on this site was a chapel constructed by St Ninian in the late 400s.
Here it is from the road:
This picture doesn’t quite show how Dunnottar gained its “most impregnable” moniker. This one maybe does:
This is the gorge which divides the mainland from the plateau where the castle is built, pictured alongside a foxglove for an attempted artistic effect…
…and here are the sea cliffs off to the right, mainly populated these days by seabirds:
There’s a passage which leads underneath the base of the rock plateau, though I’ve no idea of this was an attempted mine, or just put in to give access to the beach on the other side.
Once inside the castle grounds, the most impressive thing is the keep. It’s where you first emerge as you take the stone staircase up into the fortress, just past the tunnel. This was the main point of defense, and the highest point in the whole construction. Proper construction of the stone fortifications began in the early 14th century (after William Wallace had captured it from Edward I of England; there are also records of battles fought by Donald II of Scotland against the Vikings in 900 and an attack by King Aethelstan of Wessex in the 930s.):
Here are some other buildings upon the plateau.
First is the chapel, of which I photographed one of the ruined ends:
These buildings were used as store houses and quarters for troops, though the one on the right (with the windows) is now a tourist information building. In the foreground is the castle well.
Here’s a more complete shot of some of the castle buildings. Back in its more active days, these areas would have been used to grow food and to graze a small number of livestock. The meadow shown in the foreground actually extends back quite a way:
This is all that really grows there now:
This is a picture of the information board, showing an aerial view of the castle grounds which will hopefully make the layout more clear. The chapel is number 10 in the picture, you can see the well just above number 3, and the keep is between 13 and 14. The lupins are growing just above the little copse to the right of number 10.
Dunnottar has seen some highly significant events in history. In 1652 it was the last place in Scotland holding out against the army of Oliver Cromwell, who was particularly eager to capture the Honours of Scotland (Scotland’s crown jewels), which were being held by the defenders. When the castle surrendered after a siege of 8 months, they were nowhere to be found. In the meantime they had been lowered down the cliffs to a woman pretending to collect seaweed who later buried them beneath the floor of the parish church at nearby Kinneff, where they were unearthed years later.
This guy is the only relic left of those times: